How can IBDs tackle increasing competition? Honing sales techniques is one way to keep ahead of rivals, which is precisely the reason Fisher Outdoor Leisure put on a programme of Retail Workshops earlier this year. BikeBiz spoke to national field sales manager Martin Murray to find out more…
Were these the first retail sales workshops run with Fisher?
That’s right. The first workshop took place earlier in the year at the SRAM Technical Centre (STC) in Windsor. Following the success of this, we decided to roll out another five workshops across the country covering Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester and again at the STC.
What led to the decision to run the sessions in the first place?
We are well aware that bricks and mortar retailing is becoming increasingly challenging, for all of the reasons everyone knows well. Compared with most industries, we have a good independent dealer network in the bike trade and it’s important for all involved that it continues to remain strong. One way for Fisher to help the IBDs was to assist them in maximising selling opportunities once a customer walks through the door, and this is what the sales workshops focused on.
Dean Allder, who runs the workshops for us, has been helping our business for a while and it was through our relationship with him that we realised we could use his experience to help our customers improve both their customer service and selling skills. Dean has a wealth of sales experience across multiple industries with a client list including Pepsi, Nokia and BT and we are fortunate to be able to tap into that experience and share it with our customers.
How did the sessions go? Were you pleased with attendance and the response from those who took part?
The response has been amazing with really positive feedback. There is a real demand for this type of training from retailers and we want to continue to roll this out to more IBDs over the coming months. Who wouldn’t want to have their staff trained up and make them better at their job, for free? All attendees have found the workshops beneficial and are taking what they’ve learnt back to their stores to share amongst the rest of the staff.
How does selling in the bicycle industry compare with selling in the other industries? Is it similar or vastly different?
Selling follows a pretty simple process that is relevant to any product or service, no matter what industry you are in. The cool thing about the bike trade is that we are often selling products we are interested in as opposed to selling say pencils, or insurance. If we are able to help shop floor staff combine their passion and knowledge with some new found selling and customer service skills, then this can only be a good thing for an IBD.
And the focus is not specifically on selling Fisher products?
Not at all. The focus is to improve the selling capability of shop floor staff, whatever products they have in stock.
What are the key messages you left with attendees about how to differentiate their businesses from competition?
Once they get a customer through the door, they need to provide them with a first class service, whilst also maximising that sales opportunity. The consumer has so much choice these days and it is the shopping experience and service they receive that differentiates a good IBD from the rest. By helping them understand the selling process, we hope to help these IBDs capitalise on the opportunities that lay before them, in turn making their businesses more profitable.
Are there any other top tips that retailers should bear in mind?
It’s a great question and by attending the retail workshops you’ll find lots of top tips. I guess one thing that really stands out is that selling can be a simple process, and by following some key steps it’s possible to convert opportunities into actual sales.
Any plans to run further sessions for retailers in future?
Definitely, and where possible we’ll aim to run them in line with demand.
How should interested shops get in touch to find out more?
Fisher account holders who are interested in taking part should contact their account manager or call 01727 798 345.